Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Facebook's big change to your news feed shows it still doesn't know how to fix its problems

An upcoming change to your news feed indicates the company doesn't know what to do.

The Essentials

1. Facebook's endless tweaking of your news feed continues with a big, new, behind-the-scenes update meant to help users "have more meaningful social interactions."

2. You'll start seeing more posts from friends, family and groups in your feed, founder Mark Zuckerberg explained. And that means fewer posts from brands, businesses and media outlets. Zuckerberg called it a "major change to how we build Facebook."

3. The goal will be to highlight posts that "spark conversation," Head of News Feed Adam Mosseri said. To do that, Facebook will try to "predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed."

What Else You Should Know

This change comes at an interesting moment for Facebook and Zuckerberg.

The founder, in his post about the update, insists it's about connecting real people because it's "good for our well-being." And to do that, he's instituting a shift in strategy for the people in charge of building the news feed. 

"I'm changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions," he writes.

Related:

Holding Facebook and Google accountable for shady election ads

That's a really big shift. The company, for years, has repeatedly promised to providea betterfeed byserving up morerelevant content.

But there's a good argument to make that they've failed in that mission.

Zuckerberg positioned his company as an important tool in political discourse by rolling out features like voter registration reminders and candidate endorsement tools, or by trying to predict what posts people might find "informative."

What users got instead was a mess of misinformation that, at best, cluttered up the feed, and at worst, enabled the spread of inaccurate news that influenced voters, and was possibly put out there by a foreign actor (Russia).

It's a problem Zuckerberg initially laughed at, calling it a "crazy idea" (though he was even warned by former President Barack Obama). He has since acknowledged political misinformation on Facebook is a real issue, and the platform has introduced updates and tweaks to combat fake news.

The changes announced Thursday might indicate Zuckerberg and Facebook – despite all their efforts – still don't know how to get a handle on it. They've certainly faced criticism of that nature.

So why not scale back on the amount of "news" shown to users, and let them focus on the people they know. Sort of like it was before Facebook stepped into the political discourse fray.

Related:

Watch: Al Franken loses his mind while quizzing Facebook lawyer about Russian ads

"Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down," Zuckerberg says. "But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too."

Whether it works as planned, only time will tell. 

Next Up

Justin Jefferson

Vikings-49ers: 5 things you can count on

Sunday's matchup is a pivotal game in the NFC playoff picture.

Gopher Football

Watch: Gophers troll Badgers with 'Jump Around' after Saturday's win

First they took Paul Bunyan's Axe. Then they took their tradition.

Brandon Richart, missing person

Search underway for missing man in Anoka area

Brandon Richart was last seen Nov. 17.

U.S. Bank Stadium

5 teams win first state championships at Prep Bowl

A pair of records fell as the Prep Bowl lived up to the hype.

ashley Carlson

Remains of missing WI mom found in Pine County, MN

Ashley Miller-Carlson was 33 years old.

D'Angelo Russell

D'Lo's late takeover helps Timberwolves win double-OT thriller

Russell caught fire to help the Timberwolves get back to .500.

Gopher Football

Gophers suffocate Badgers, reclaim Paul Bunyan's Axe

Minnesota picked up its first home win over the Badgers since 2003.

Meeker County Sheriff's Office

Boy, 6, run over after falling off trailer in Meeker Co. tree farm accident

He was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center with internal injuries.

Target store

Target unveils deals for 2-day 'Cyber Monday' event

The promotion kicks off Sunday, November 28.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 9.59.30 AM

Edina police warn of recent burglary trend targeting garages and vehicles

The Edina Police Department is increasing patrols in affected neighborhoods in response to the trend.

Related

Facebook is trying to make fewer crappy links show up on your feed

You know the ones – where the page you go to is full of an absurd number of ads.

5 things you should take away from the Explore Minnesota Facebook page hack

What you should (and shouldn't) do to keep your accounts safe.

Facebook blames a 'tiny group' of users for lots of obnoxious spam

Here's what Facebook says it's doing so you see it less.

Facebook blames a 'tiny group' of users for lots of obnoxious spam

Here's what Facebook says it's doing so you see it less.

How to turn on the rainbow flag Facebook reaction

It isn't automatic – you have to do something to turn it on.